"In Rainbows" - I'm not even remotely impartial, but the new Radiohead record is really fucking great. I can't say I was expecting what I got. It seems a little less resigned to minor keys, and they seem to have gotten back to guitar-driven music, which I think they're fucking great at. I've said nothing new to anyone, though, and there has been an over-abundance of Radiohead reviews/reactions, so I'll let this rest.
Gone Baby Gone - Unlike Marjorie Baumgarten at the always reliable Austin Chronicle, I was enthralled by Casey Affleck's turn as Patrick Kenzie. "Nebbishy quality and mumbly speaking voice" aside he really owns this role. More importantly, I was much more than pleased with Ben's direction and adapted screenplay. He establishes the city as a character exceptionally well and lets his actors chew on insanely engrossing monologues and diatribes. Ed Harris outside of the hospital blows a hole a mile wide right through your gut. It's much better than the other Lehane adaptation, Mystic River and, conspiring with his work on The Wire, makes me want to actually check out his work, which Mystic River most definitely did not accomplish.
The Darjeeling Limited - It was a welcome return to a world in which I could imagine myself living in, unlike my least favorite Wes Anderson film, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. I loved that each of the brothers were more or less complete assholes and was shocked by the Schwartzmann finger-lick, which is very much akin to the moment in the classroom in Rushmore where Miss Cross gives her "not if you've ever fucked before" speech to Max. It's certainly not Anderson's best film, which I still believe is Rushmore, but it was certainly good.
"The Shepherd's Dog" - Fucking amazing. There is not a single misstep in Sam Beam's musical evolution as far as I'm concerned.
"Yellow Dog" - The new Greg Brown live record is pretty damn good. It's full of songs that he pulled straight from a notebook. He'd not performed them or recorded them previously. Aside from "Oily Boys" being perhaps a little heavy handed (and with a political song the heavy handedness tends to go over like a lead balloon with me), the songs are great. It's also for a good cause with much (if not all) of the proceeds going to help the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Michael Clayton - While it certainly looked good, this film is simply a retread of every fucking ethical dilemma lawyer movie we've all seen 15 times before. The actors are all great, but I'm sure no one expects Clooney, Wilkinson, et al., to be anything other than that. Quite frankly, I'm not sure what anyone could have seen in this to make them think this was anything less than run-of-the-mill. Again the acting is great, but I kept waiting for the film to surprise me, and it didn't.
And there will be one more rave to come, not that anyone cares.